How Do Motorized Retractable Awnings Work?

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Motorized retractable awnings help keep the sun off of your house while providing you with a clear view of the beautiful surroundings outside your home. Still, many property owners want to know how these awnings work before deciding to purchase.


Our team at Sunshades of Pennsylvania can help you review the functions of these shades. Get professional answers today by calling us at 412-844-2481.

Explaining Motorized Retractable Awnings in Pittsburgh

Motorized retractable awnings in Pittsburgh use an electrical system to change the position of an awning. Most of these awnings use tube motors that fit inside the roll of the awning material, keeping them out of sight.


The motor itself fits in what we call the ‘barrel.’ The barrel serves as a roller that holds the awning when it isn’t stretched out for use. A wire extends out of the motor from one side of the awning, and a trained electrician will connect this wire to your electricity source.


Activating the motor causes it to move the barrel, in turn moving the fabric of your awning.

How the Support Arms Work for Pittsburgh Motorized Retractable Awnings

Motorized awnings use support arms to keep the awning in the correct shape and position when it’s fully extended. Note that the motor does not move these arms. Instead, they have either gas pistons or a spring tension system.

motorized awnings

The arms do not play a role in pushing your awning open. Instead, they extend out and into place as the motor moves the cover out. When you close the awning, they follow the cover back, eased into place by their spring or gas system.

Interior Workings of the Arms of a Motorized Retractable Awning

Pittsburgh motorized retracting awnings usually have arms to provide resilience. Manufacturers typically use aluminum for this framework, as it’s lightweight but still strong enough to handle the weight of the awning.


Arms typically have two sections, with a bend in the middle that resembles an elbow joint. Early awnings used chains to move the arm sections. However, many currently use a specialized Kevlar mix to improve the arms’ lifespan and reduce overall tension during the movement of the retractable awning.

Benefits of Using Motorized Retractable Awnings in Pittsburgh

Now that we’ve discussed how motorized retractable awnings work, we can review the reasons you may want to install this feature on your home. Awnings help provide you with protection from:


  • Uncomfortably bright sunshine
  • UV rays
  • Rain


Light rain can run directly off of an awning, allowing you to enjoy the outside without getting wet. In addition, most awnings use water-resistant fabric, so they won’t soak through or absorb the water during a rainstorm.


However, it can be dangerous to leave your retractable awning open all the time.


How to Safely Stow Your Motorized Retractable Awning

A motorized retractable awning can increase your outdoor comfort. However, keeping the awning open all the time can expose it to numerous hazards and may even cause damage to the awning. Companies do not design the cover and arms to withstand heavy wind or snowstorms.


You should retract your awnings before facing this kind of weather in the Pittsburgh area. Strong winds can even pull extended awnings off of your home, as they can grab the fabric and tear it away.


Many people remove their awnings completely in the winter to protect them from the damage associated with exposure to ice or snow. However, you have the option to purchase a special cover to go over your awning and motor.


Covers provide protection for the awning fabric, the metal arms, and the motor that powers the entire fixture. Make sure that you have the cover correctly in place before the weather takes a turn for the worse in the winter.

Speak with the Professionals About Motorized Retractable Awnings

Are you interested in installing motorized retractable awnings in Pittsburgh, PA? If so, you can reach out to our team at Sunshades of Pennsylvania. You can contact our professional team at 412-844-2481. We can help you review the functions of retractable awnings and set up an installation appointment.




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